College of Southern Maryland, Professor of Philosophy Dr. Richard Bilsker, was recognized during the college’s 63rd Spring Commencement, and during the college’s Academic Excellence Awards program, for receiving the CSM Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. The award is bestowed upon a full-time professor by members of the CSM faculty.

College of Southern Maryland Professor of Philosophy Dr. Richard Bilsker Credit: College of Southern Maryland

“The faculty excellence in teaching award is a celebration by one’s peers,” shared CSM Faculty Senate President and Communication Professor Sarah Merranko, during the commencement festivities. “It provides a platform for acknowledging a commitment to exemplary teaching, student engagement, contributions to the college and one’s department, professional development, and community commitment. Faculty are nominated annually and anonymously evaluated against a rigorous rubric, celebrating achievements in teaching.”

Along with teaching, Bilsker also serves as the director of CSM’s Honors Curriculum and is also the college’s coordinator for history, philosophy, and political science. He serves as chair of the Grade Review Committee and the Tenure Committee, as well as a member of the Academic Standards Committee. He has been active on numerous hiring committees and other ad hoc committees. 

“I am very honored to receive this award. As a lifelong student of the history of ideas, I think the most important thing we can teach our students is the ability to think,” Bilsker said. “I would include here the ability to understand and evaluate the thoughts of others, as well as the skills needed to construct one’s own chain of reasoning. Different classes naturally require different methods, but this is a constant.”

Bilsker’s department chair describes his endeavors as one who “… has made significant contributions to CSM’s curriculum and provided leadership in several initiatives. Richard has expanded our course offerings to include a full spectrum of philosophy classes, including two that have become vital components of the Business and Nursing curricula.”

“Studying philosophy can be described as probing into the meaning of fundamental questions and exploring the answers to those questions,” Bilsker explained. “It’s important for students to know that these questions have been pondered not just by academics or in classrooms, but rather that answers exist all around us.” 

Bilsker earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University before starting his career at CSM in 1995. He has presented at regional and national conferences in philosophy, sociology, and popular culture. Most recently, he presented “Character Creation: Role-Playing Games and the Socially-Constructed Self” at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association virtual conference as part of a panel on role-playing games and philosophy.

His publications include books in philosophy, book chapters in volumes on popular culture, as well as articles and book reviews in journals for philosophy, sociology, and political science. He lives in St. Mary’s County with his wife, son, and too many pets to mention. 


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